The Need For The Sacrament Of Confession

What is sin?

There are two types of sin: original sin and actual sin

Original sin - One of the consequences of the sin of our firstparents which is passed on to their descendants. As a result oftheir sin, man was denied original justice and instead was madesubject to death and concupiscence (a disordered inclination to sensepleasures against the direction of reason.) Original sin also meant the deprivation of sanctifying grace. Baptism is the sacrament by whichwe are cleansed from the stain of original sin.

Actual Sin - any wilful thought, desire, word, action, or omission forbidden by the law of God. Actual sin is the kind of sin that we ourselves commit. Sin is an offense against God.There are two kinds of actual sin. Mortal (deadly) sin and venial (not deadly) sin.1 John 5:14-17 (prayer for sinners) 14 We have this confidence in God: that he hears us whenever we ask for anything according to his will. 15 And since we know that he hears us whenever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours.16 Anyone who sees his brother sinning, it the sin is not deadly, should petition God, and thus life will be given to the sinner. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as a deadly sin; I do not say that one should pray about that. 17 True, all wrongdoing is sin, but not all sin is deadly.

Mortal Sin - a mortal sin is a deadly sin. It kills our souls. If we commit a mortal sin we no longer have sancitfying grace (Gods life in our souls). Three things are necessary to make a sin Mortal:

  1. The thought, desire, word, action, or omission must be seriouslywrong or considered seriously wrong. The matter must be grave.
  2. The sinner must be mindful of the serious wrong. He must havefull knowledge and reflection or attention and know that what hedoes is grievous.
  3. The sinner must fully consent to it. He must do it of his ownfree will.What happens to our souls when we are no longer in the state of grace?
    1. mortal sin makes the soul an enemy of God. God is love and wehave chosento reject that love and thus reject God.
    2. mortal sin takes away the merit of all its good actions.
    3. mortal sin deprives it of the right to everlasting happiness inheaven.
    4. mortal sin makes our souls deserving of hell because commiting amortal sin separates us from God.Venial Sin - a venial sin is a less serious offense against the law ofGod, which does not deprive the soul of sanctifying grace. A sin canbe venial is two ways:a) when the evil done is not seriously wrong.
    5. When the evil done is seriously wrong, but the sinner sincerelybelieves it is onlyslightly wrong or does it on the spur of the moment, withoutsufficient reflection, orwithout full consent of the will.Occasions of SinAny person, place or thing that is a temptation to commit sin.Catholics are bound in conscience to avoid all occasions of sin.What recourse do we have if we commit a mortal (deadly) sin after wehave been baptised?


The Old Law

Numbers 5:5-7 The Lord said to Moses, 8 "Tell the Israelites: If a man(or a woman) commits a fault against his fellow man and wrongs him, thus breaking faith with the Lord, 7 he shall confess the wrong he has done, restore his ill gotten goods in full, and in addition give one fifth of their value to the one he has wronged. Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his sins prospers not, but he who confesses and forsakes them obtains mercy. Matthew 3:5-6 Then went out to him (John the Baptist) Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the country about Jordan: And were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

The New Law

Matthew 9:1-8 (Jesus is speaking to the crowd.) 1. Then he reentered the boat, made the crossing, and came back to his own town. 2 There the people at once brought to him a paralyzed mad lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, "Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven." 3 At that, some to the scribes said to themselves, "The man blasphemes." 4 Jesus was aware of what they were thinking and said:"Why do you harbor evil thoughts? 5 Which is less trouble to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Stand up and walk?’ 6 To help you realize that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-he then said to the paralyzed man-"Stand up! Roll up your mat, and go home." 7 The man stood up and went toward his home. 8 At the sight, a feeling of awe cameover the crowd, and they praised God for giving such authority to men.

Matthew 16:18-19 (Jesus to Simon) 18 I for my part declare to you, you are ‘Rock,’ and on this rock I will build my church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven."1 John 1:9 (The opening of the epistle does not state to whom it is addressed, but the data indicate that it was written to specific Christian communities some of whose members were advocating false doctrines.) But if we acknowledge our sins, he who is just can betrusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong. If we say,"We have never sinned," we make him a liar and his word finds no place in us. James 5:16 (The epistle of James has a general addressee: To the twelve tribes in the dispersion.) Hence, declare your sins to one another, and pray for one another that you may find healing.John 20:19-23 (Jesus is speaking to the 10 apostles that were hiding in the upper room after His death) On the evening of that first day of the week, even though the disciples had locked the doors of the place where they were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood before them."Peace be with you," he said. When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. At the sight of the Lord the disciples rejoiced."Peace be with you," he said again.""As the Father has sent me, so I send you."Then he breathed on them and said:"Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven them;if you hold them bound, they are held bound."1 Corinthians 11:27 (St. Paul established a Christian community in Corinth about the year 50 ad. He wrote this epistle to the Church in Corinth in "fear and trepidation" because of the city’s extreme moral depravity and its pagan cult.) "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying. If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment; but since weare judged by (the) Lord, we are being disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

Examination of Conscience

  1. First we must ask the Holy Spirit to help us see ourselves as God sees us. We must beg Him to help us to know our weaknesses and theareas of self-centeredness in our lives.
  2. Secondly, we must seek true contrition for our sins from the Holy Spirit. We must realize that our sins have wounded Christ and His Church. If our contrition is real, it must include a sincere desire to abandon sin and all of the occasions that lead us to sin. This is called our Purpose of Amendment .The Church teaches us that it is God’s will that we confess all mortal sins to the priest as well as the number of times we have committed them. This sincere and blunt self-accusation before Christ is what is known as the integrity of the Sacrament of Penance. We realize, of course, that God knows all that we are and all that we have done before we confess our sins. However, it is Christ’s will that we humble ourselves, admit our guilt and seek His forgiveness through the priest who, at the moment of confession and absolution, is Christ Himself.
  3. In order to meet the merciful Christ in this Sacrament, we must sincerely desire to make reparation to God for our sins through acts of prayer, penance and charity.4. Once we have expressed sorrow for our sins by humbly confessing them to the priest, have resolved to make amends for them to the priest,have resolved to make amends for them and have accepted the penance the priest have given to us, we receive embrace of Christ’s mercy and forgiveness through sacramental absolution.

I am the Lord your God, You shall not have any other god besides me.

Who or what is your God?

What things occupy my mind more than God?

Are the sacrifices which I make for myself more than those which I give to God?

Do I tithe to myself more of my talents and treasure than I do God?

Do I look for attention from myself and others?

Do I judge others as if I could know what God knows?

Do I attribute all good things with which I have been blessed to God,or worship myself for my own accomplishments?

Have I put my own pleasure before the needs of others

Do I give God time every day in prayer?

Do I seek to love Him with my whole heart?

Have I been involved with superstitious practices or have I beeninvolved with the occult?

Do I seek to surrender myself to God’s Word as taught by the Church?

Have I ever received Holy Communion in the State of Mortal Sin?

Have I ever deliberately told a lie in Confession or have I withheld amortal sin from the priestin confession?

You shall not take the name of theLord your God in vain.

Do I take the name of Christ in calling myself "Christian" and act otherwise?

Do I take the title "body of Christ" as a member and fail to protect life at all its stages"?

Do I actually say the name of the Most Holy without really wanting His help?

Have I used God’s name in vain: lightly of carelessly?

Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?

Have I wished evil upon another person?

Remember to keep holy the Sabbath Day.

Have I always loved God and neighbor through the expression of worshipin the Eucharist celebration?

Have I been rude and rejected Jesus present in the whole Mass by arriving late through laziness or sloth?

Do I give more attention to being on time for other things?

Do I just mark the day as holy by going to mass and neglect the other hours of the day as His?

Have I taken time to learn about the Eucharistic Celebration and allit's parts?.. or do I merely "follow the program?"

Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or Holy days of Obligation?

Have I tried to observe Sunday as a family day and a day of rest?

Do I do needless work on Sunday?

Honor your father and mother.

Do I show respect to my parents, even knowing their faults?

Have I forgiven them for their weaknesses as I want to be forgiven byGod?

Do I honor them by being the best I can be, thus showing how I developed what they have given me in cooperation with the Lord?

Do I neglect the real needs of my parents?

Have I allowed fear to dominate a relationship with my parents?

Have I neglected to share what I have learned from the Lord with them?

Have I given my family good religious example?

Do I try to bring peace into my home life?

Do I care for my aged and infirm relatives?

You shall not kill.

Have I gossiped about others and killed part of their reputation?

Have I sought to harm anyone in any way?

Have I become vengeful?

Do I look to get even?

Do I reject the truth that comes from others because I don't particularly like their personality. Have I used birth control pills? (80% of all birth control pills do not prevent conception... they actually cause a hostile environment in the womb and "abort" the new life.)

Do I listen to what others have to say rather than what they say?

Have I aided in the mutilation of my body or that of another's?

Do I have an un confessed abortion in my past?

Did I assist in helping anyone procure an abortion in any way?

Have I participated in bringing about abortion by putting issues that serve me before protection life during election time?

Have I mutilated myself through any form of sterilization?

Have I encouraged or condoned sterilization?

Did I give scandal to anyone, thereby leading them into sin?

You shall not commit adultery.

Have I looked at others as objects of pleasure, pleasures that don't align properly with my status as one who is baptized?

Have I taken the form of a human being even in my thoughts and used it for perverse pleasure, devaluing it of the integrity that God has given the human person in the totality of mind, spirit, and soul?

Have I entertained thoughts for carnal pleasure?

Have I practiced the conjugal union with my spouse while thinking of another?

Have I moved beyond chastity in any other way? (by my thoughts words oractions) Perhaps I have by using artificial birth control and reducing my spouse to a "thing" for pleasure. Have I tempted my spouse to look for another by not being available toshare love?

Have I married outside of my baptism?

Have I been guilty of masturbation?

Has each sexual act in my marriage been open to the transmission of new life?

You shall not steal.

Have I used what should be given to God for things that are not holy?

Have I taken things that did not belong to me?

Have I purposely taken things from work that my employer paid for tohave for my own personal use without permission?

Have I taken advantage of mistakes that might have been made by acashier when I knew a price was different?

Have I assumed consent to use other people's things at my own convenience?

Have I used other's material possessions without asking?

Have I damaged other people's material possessions without offering tocompensate?

Have I rationalized cheating on my income tax placing my burden onothers?

Do I pay my debts promptly?

Do I waste time at work, school or home?

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Have I made myself judge over another's heart when they have erred andtalked about them?

Have I practiced complaining about another other than what is prescribed in Matthew 15?

Have I deliberately let a lie live on about another, even though I knew better because I didn't like the other person?

Have I ever had the attitude of "They deserved that!"?

Have I talked about another's sins, especially when they might havebeen forgiven by God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

Have I lied?

Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential?

You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.

Have I reduced my spouse through humiliation by comparing to another's?

Have I not looked at my own marriage and put it first as a Sacrament asHoly as any other?

Have I wished for the talents of another's spouseto be in my own?

Have I consented to impure thoughts?

Have I caused them by impure reading, movies, conversation, orcuriosity

Do I pray at once to banish impure thoughts and temptations?

You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.

Am I jealous of what others might have?

Have I judged others who have as more fortunate than I?

Have I been jealous of their home life and neglected my responsibilityin my own?

Do I try to love the bad and the good alike?

Do I pray for my enemies and persecutors?

Do I feel that the bad and the good should be treated with equality andjustice in my eyes?

Do I love others as I wish to be loved?

Do I seek to surrender to the will of God humbly or do I seek to leadGod by my will?

Am I truly worthy of my Lord's sacrifice for me by the way I live?

Do I trust that God will provide for all of my material and spiritualneeds?

How to Go to Confession

  1. You always have the option to go to confession anonymously, that is, behind the screen.
  2. You may go to the priest face to face.
  3. After the priest greets you in the name of Christ, make the sign of the cross.
  4. Then say: "Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been (state how long) since my lastconfession. These are my sins.
  5. Then tell your sins simply and honestly to the priest. (You might even want to discuss the circumstances and the root causes of your sins and ask the priest for advice or direction.)
  6. Listen to the advice the priest gives you and accept the penancefrom him. Then make an Act of Contrition for your sins.
  7. The priest will dismiss you with the words of praise. (these will vary) And you respond with "Amen" or "Thanks be to God."
  8. Spend some time with Our Lord thanking and praising Him for the gift of His mercy. Try to perform your penance as soon as possible.

An Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and I detest all my sins because of thy just punishment. But most of all, because it offends Thee my God who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen"

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels of heaven, He will sit upon His royal throne, and all the nations will be assembled before Him. Then He will separate them into two groups, as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. The sheep He will place on His righthand, the goats on His left. The king will say to those on His right: 'Come. You have My Father's blessing! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you comforted me, in prison and you came to visitme'." "Then He will say to those on His left: 'out of my sight you condemned, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels! I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink. I was away from home and you gave Me no welcome, naked and you gave Me no clothing. I was ill and in prison and you did not come to visit me. (Matthew 25: 31-36; 41-43)

Am I going to be among the sheep or the goats when I stand before our Lord?

Do I think of the needs of others before I think of my own?

Do I give willingly of my time and talents to my community, to those inneed, and to my faith community family?

Do I seek out those in need to help them rather than waiting for them tocross my path?

Am I worthy of the Kingdom by my thoughts, words, actions and deeds

Do I earnestly seek direction from the Lord in this regard throughsincere and humble prayer?

Do I recognize the strangers, the prisoners, the ill in my life?

Jesus said "Feed my sheep." Have I, am I, do I, WILL I?

Restitution (Filled With The Holy Spirit - My Son)

Restitution - Restoration of any article whatsover to its rightful owner. In moral theology: anact of commutative justice by which one repairs the unjust damage done to another or to another’s possessions. I would like to share a story with you about restitution.


My youngest son, a first grader who is nearly seven years old has helped me to understand the meaning of restitution and why it is so necessary. Several weeks ago, I took three of my children to confession. One of my sons was very ashamed about something he did and asked me if he had to tell the priest. I said yes, you must tell father everything. After we cameout of the church, I asked my children:

"Why do you think you have to tell your sins to the priest?

I received a resounding "I don’t know."

Then I said: "Well,does God know every-thing?"

My kids looked at me as though I was an idiot and said "Yes."

I said "Do you think that God already knows your sins?"

They all said, yes.

"So", I said, "why do you think that God wants us to say our sins to the priest?"

One of my sons said one of the most poignant statements I have ever heard.

"Because God wants to know that we know." He said.

"Yes," I said, "God wants to know that we know."

That evening and for over a week afterward, My youngest son came to me in tears. He kept saying that he was scared to go to confession. I took him at his word and tried to reassure him that telling his sins to the priest would not be too hard. I told him that father would not be able to see him and that he would feel better once he had done it for the first time. This did not help. For over a week he continued to come to me in tears telling me that he was afraid and I attempted to reassure him. I asked him why he was afraid and he just said that he was afraid to go to confession. After dealing with this several times a day for days on end, it began to dawn on me that perhaps he had done something and that was why he was afraid. I decided not to pressure him, but to let him work in out in his own heart. I have a video that talks about lying and I let him watch it. It is a cartoon, made for children and I felt that perhaps it would stir his conscience. Several days after watching the video, I was in my home office on the phone. My son wrote me a note saying that he needed to talk to me. I sat down with him as he cried and asked me:

"Mom, is lying a sin?"

I said "yes."

Then he said "If I told a lie, do I have to tell the person I lied to?"

I said, "Well, that depends; suppose you stole something and you went to confession and told Father. Father would tell you that you needed to return whatever it was that you had stolen before you would be forgiven."

My son groaned and said "Is stealing a sin?"

I said "Yes."

He began to cry again and we went to my room and sat on my bed.

"What is it sweetie" I said. "Did you do something that you are afraid to tell?"

He finally broke down and told me everything. He said that when he was in Kindergarten, he had stolen some 'leggos' from his classroom and when his older brother had asked him about it, he had lied to him. He was terrified that he would not be forgiven, especially since he would not be making his first confession for another year. I asked him if he still had leggos and he said yes. I told him to go up to his room and bring me all of the leggos. He came downstairs with a plastic container full of leggos.

I said, "Son, what do you think we should do with these?"

He said "I don’t know."

I said "How would you feel if we gave them to your kindergarten teacher?"

He did not want to do this at school, so I told him we would go to his teacher's house.

We went over there twice and both times she was not at home. As we drove home the second time, He began to cry again.

"Mom, I stole other stuff too."

I asked him what it was and he named off several small items. I told him to go into his room and get his money. He had two dollars. We were not able to find his teacher that night, so he went to bed with a heavy heart. In the morning, I asked him to bring his two dollars and his leggos. When we arrived at the church for daily mass, I took him to the collection box. I told him to put his two dollars in the box for the things he had stolen and to ask God to forgive him. This relieved him a little, but we still had to deal with the leggos. When we arrived at school, we found his kindergarten teacher. I told her that my son had something he needed to tell her. He began to cry and told her that he had stolen leggos from her classroom last year. She helped him to understand that stealing was wrong and asked him if he would ever do that again. He said no. As we walked away, his teacher called out to him. He turned around and she looked at him and told him:

"It’s over."

Relief and gratitude flooded into my sons face as we climbed the steps to his classroom. It was over and he was finally at peace. You see, God does not need us to "pay" for our sins, we do. He understands the human heart and the fact that we need to "right"wrongs we have done. He does not ask us to do penance because He wants us to suffer, it is just the opposite. He wants us to have real peace, knowing that we have repaired whatever damage we have done to another.

Thank you my Father in heaven for this wonderful experience to witness your divine wisdom and love for us. You have once again shown me the magnificence of your Holy Mother Church and for the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Kelly Salbato